Streetwise and sweet voiced: Carolyn Rodriguez is an artist whose music is forged from the gritty reality of her experiences and a powerful connection to her audience. There are many changes in the life of the singer and rapper known as “Medicine Girl” as she instigates the latest phase in her career in a new locale – Los Angeles. “It’s not the state of California, it’s me being in this state and changing my lifestyle,” she says. “I thought about how I was living and realized, ‘You are better than this.’ It’s the evolution of everything.”
Love and War is Carolyn’s tenth release, the latest in a lineage that encompasses seven albums, two mix tapes, and a “screwed and chopped” version of an album. These new songs reflect her surroundings as she channels her musical side through the spirit of
classic R&B. As a rapper, Carolyn’s rhymes are intuitive and connected. “Whatever sounds God brings to my head,” she says. “I am the messenger.” Originally from North Carolina, Carolyn was raised between two cultures. Her mom is white but
was closely attuned to Latin culture while her father’s family was Spanish farmers.
Carolyn’s upbringing was conventional as she participated in choir, ballet and basketball. When her parents divorced, she moved with her mom to Fort Smith, Arkansas and encountered the cold slap of
redneck culture. “The only people I could relate to were the criminals, the thug life,” she remembers. It was these associations that predicted her future in hip-hop. Graduating early from high school, she moved to Huntsville, Texas where her father was teaching at Sam Houston State University. She attended college and recorded her first demo with Jaime “Pain” Ortiz, who was to become a Latin Grammy winning producer and engineer. “They didn’t see me as anything at first,” she says of her introduction to the scene. “You automatically don’t get respect as a woman. You’ve got to work twice as hard. I didn’t dress like a hoochie. I only cared about making music.” Beginning with the DFO Music Group, her career blossomed in the vital Houston Latin rap community. She was a featured vocalist and rapper on multiple projects with artists including SPM (South Park Mexican) and Juan Gotti. She hit the hustle hard: passing out CD’s on the streets, performing at Low-rider car shows, and gaining a following from Houston to Phoenix, Denver and Los Angeles. Nothing has ever comes easy to Carolyn Rodriguez so she goes after it. When the Pocos Pero Locos radio syndicate wasn’t playing her songs in rotation, she drove from Denver to Los Angeles to personally “get in their faces,” as she remembers. It was a fortuitous connection as she created an alliance with Silent Giant Entertainment, placed her version of the reggae classic “Night Nurse” in the Filly Brown feature film, and made the connections for her move to the City of the Angels. Which brings her to the present, and the message embodied in Love and War. Carolyn Rodriguez might be evolving, but she has not smoothed down her sharp edges. She says that her latest
project’s title reveals the realities of being a recording artist in the present era. “With the music business we’re fighting everyday, to stay relevant, to stay in touch with our fans, to make money and support ourselves. That’s the war -- the music is the love.”